Monday, November 23, 2015

UK Press: Freemasons fixed inquiry into Titanic to protect Establishment, claims secret archive that lists two million members

You can't beat the British press when it comes to Mason bashing. Like this announcement from Ancestry that the UGLE is making an historical list of Masonic membership available to genealogy searchers that is appearing in papers all across Britain with the same ridiculous headline.

From the Daily Mail:

Freemasons fixed inquiry into Titanic to protect Establishment, claims secret archive that lists two million members - including Winston Churchill - and reveals secretive group of elites ruled society for 200 years 

Freemasons dominated the inquiry into the sinking of the Titanic and may have allowed Establishment figures to escape blame, it was claimed last night.
The investigation into the 1912 tragedy that cost 1,500 lives exonerated most of those involved, including the ship’s White Star Line owners as well as its captain.
Now the publication of a secret archive of Freemasons – containing two million names of members from 1733 to 1923 – reveals the scale of Masonic involvement across the highest echelons of British society. 
The archive contains the names of three kings, statesmen, judges, military top brass and bishops. 
Experts believe it could lead to a re-examination of almost 200 years of British history, revealing the scale of Masonic influence at all levels of British society when the UK was one of the world’s most powerful countries.
The records are due to be published online by genealogy service Ancestry.
While the Masonic connections of figures such as Sir Winston Churchill, Oscar Wilde, Lord Kitchener, Rudyard Kipling and Edward VIII are known, the records offer the first comprehensive view of the reach of Freemasonry at the height of the British Empire.
They reveal the close ties between Establishment figures involved in the investigation into the Titanic’s sinking, the Telegraph reported.
A US Senate inquiry singled out the British Board of Trade, saying the small number of lifeboats on the ship was a result of lax regulations.
However, the UK investigation, overseen by Lord Mersey, exonerated the Board of Trade.
Lord Mersey himself was a Freemason, the newly published records show. He was initiated in 1881 at the Northern Bar Lodge in London.
Crucially, so too was Board of Trade president Sydney Buxton, initiated in 1888 when he was an MP.
The names of at least two of the inquiry’s five expert assessors – John Harvard Biles, a specialist in naval architecture, and Edward Chaston, the senior engineer assessor – can also be found in the Masonic archive.
Lord Pirrie, who was not only chairman of the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, which built the Titanic, but also one of the directors of White Star’s parent company, also appears to have been a Freemason.
Titanic expert Nic Compton said: ‘The Titanic inquiry in Britain was branded a “whitewash” because it exonerated most of those involved. Only three passengers were interviewed, and they were all from first class.’
The archive even suggests the Jack the Ripper may have been a Freemason, and his identity was shielded by fellow Masons.
A new book by Bruce Robinson, the director and screenwriter of the cult film Withnail and I, claims that the notorious Whitechapel murderer was a man named Michael Maybrick.
He argues that all of the Ripper killings bore the stamp of Masonic ritual, citing the symbol of a pair of compasses carved into the face of one of the Ripper’s victims.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

GLofDC Issues Statement Concerning Eligibility For Masons

For Grand Lodges that have considered or already passed anti-gay legislation in their territories, or for those who may think that Masonry is for white Christians only, you might give a look to this letter that was issued on November 11th. The Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia, MWB Jeffrey D. Russell, has issued the following statement concerning eligibility of men seeking membership in Masonry in Washington, DC. (Click the image above to see it larger). 

In part, it reads:

In response to recent questions posed to this Grand Lodge on the qualifications and eligibility of men seeking membership in our constituent Lodges, we offer this statement of unwavering principles: Admission to membership in our Lodges is extended to men of faith based upon their personal merit and good character, without reference to race, creed, sexual orientation, specific religion or national origin.


The universality of our practice is reflected in the broad range of backgrounds to be found here. Lodges here not only work in English, but in French, Spanish, German, Italian, Farsi, Turkish and Armenian. Our membership hails from every continent and represents every race and creed, as well as a broad range of national origins. Masonic visitors to this international city find unparalleled opportunities to visit a Lodge that reminds them of home - wherever that home may be.

However, the concept of universality is not only an international paradigm. It enjoys equal importance in our welcoming of men whose varied backgrounds and practices in their private and professional lives would normally keep them at a perpetual distance. The diversity of our membership, in terms of race, creed, sexual orientation, specific religion and national origin is thus seen as an asset, rather than a liability. Civility and kindness is the rule for all interaction, thus the discussion of politics, religion and business are prohibited in the Lodge room. In this way, we hold that men become brothers by leaving divisions at the door, and taking strength from a shared appreciation of the common aspirations of all men for their betterment, and for improving themselves through service as respected members of their communities, despite their outward differences.

Our dedication to diversity was not born in Washington, DC. Worldwide Masonic law and practice from the days of Anderson's Constitutions clearly disfavors the exclusion of men based upon modes of belief, backgrounds or lifestyles that enjoy legal protection in their societies. Therefore, today we say, "Any man can become a D.C. Freemason, but not every man can be one." And our tradition of over five hundred years of inclusion continues to patiently await those with imagination, will and energy to dedicate themselves to the elevation of the human race.

Many thanks to Brother Eric Diamond for passing this along.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Britons Get Their Own Soccer Lodge

The United Grand Lodge of England is organizing a special purpose lodge for England's soccer (football) players who are Masons. Freemasons have been involved in the wildly popular sport almost since the very beginning of pro teams in Britain.

From the Daily Mail on November 7th:

For years, Freemasonry has battled conspiracy theories that its members secretly run the world – but now the shadowy organisation is planning to rule the football field.
This week, the organisation’s Grand Master, the Duke of Kent, is set to grant a warrant for the first Football Lodge – a place where members meet – in Hampshire. 
Players, managers and referees who are Masons will gather four times a year to listen to guest lecturers from the world of football as well as perform a series of Masonic rituals, though the organisation claims that many of the stereotypes, such as secret handshakes, are false.
In recent years the Masons have sought to expand their appeal by setting up a range of ‘special interest’ lodges. 
Groups include a biker gang called the Widows Sons and ‘a Lodge of Brevity’ for the ‘modern man’ where meetings are about half the normal four hours. 
The Football Association was formed in 1863 at the Freemasons’ Tavern in London – now The Grand Connaught Rooms.
Stars including Stanley Matthews, Dixie Dean and Nat Lofthouse were all Masons.
Freemasons are also responsible for Premier League team Manchester City playing in blue. In 1894 the club was in a financial crisis and was bailed out by Masons, who asked that in return the team wear the Masonic colour of blue.
A petition to form a Football Lodge will be considered at this week’s meeting of the Grand Master’s Council.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Anti-Gay, Fornication Edict Upheld by GL in Georgia

Well, Georgia did it. The Grand Lodge of Georgia met yesterday and the voting members upheld Grand Master Douglas McDonald's edict outlawing homosexuality, and throwing in fornication for good measure. After several impassioned speeches on the floor against the measure, it passed with a very close vote that probably should have been counted individually, but wasn't. The Grand Lodge now officially looks into a Freemason's private bedroom.

Thank God I live in Indiana where don't have such things, and we sure don't allow Past Masters the right to vote in Grand Lodge.

For background on this issue, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

New Freemason Edition Commemorative Rifle

From the web today comes the announcement of this new Freemason edition rifle:

Henry Repeating Arms is pleased to introduce the newest rifle in its collection, The Henry Golden Boy Freemasons Tribute Edition. It recognizes the long history of this honorable fraternal order and rewards the work and dedication of Freemasons everywhere.
The rifle is crafted with the highest attention to detail. The select American walnut stock depicts our first President in full Masonic regalia, with apron, trowel, and Warden's column, standing on a "temple" floor in front of the Masonic staircase, in a painted tableau bordered by scrollwork in the same style as the receiver.
The left side carries the famous compass and square retained from the earliest days of Freemasonry, the mason's plumb and level, the letter "G" which stands for both God and Geometry, the All-Seeing Eye of God as the symbol of divine watchfulness, and the words BROTHERLY LOVE, RELIEF & TRUTH that the order considers its foundation, along with FAITH, HOPE, CHARITY, emphasized in a Mason's First Point Ceremony, all in raised 24K gold relief against a background of classic floral engraving. 
On the right side, black and white mosaic squares represent the floor of King Solomon's Temple to illustrate "human life, checkered with good and evil." Ascending stairs remind a member of the path to higher levels of Freemasonry, with another "G" at the top as the ultimate goal. 
It's built with the same smooth action that all rifles in Henry's award-winning Golden Boy family are known for. This model features a nickel-plated finish and the receiver engravings are plated with 24K gold. The buttplate and barrel band are brass. The American Walnut stock is engraved and hand-painted.
It features a fully adjustable semi-buckhorn rear sight with a reversible white diamond insert and brass beaded front sight. It includes a blued octagonal barrel and is drilled and tapped for easy scope mounting. Offered in caliber .22 S/L/LR, capacity is 16 rounds of 22 Long Rifle and as much as 21 rounds of 22 Short.  
Anthony Imperato, President of Henry Repeating Arms explains, "Many of our customers are Freemasons and it's an honor to pay tribute to them with this rifle. Freemasonry dates back to the early 1700s, with one of its most notable members being our first American president, George Washington.
The retail price of this unique rifle is $1,200, and is available from licensed gun dealers. Visit their website for more photos and information. Click here.

Friday, October 09, 2015

New Book Makes Jack The Ripper A Freemason…Again

Here we go again. 

The tired old accusation that the infamous Jack the Ripper was a Freemason is back. The latest author to try to make this idiotic claim is Bruce Robinson in his new book, They All Love Jack: Busting The Ripper.

Read the interview with him in GQ-UK Magazine. From "How one man revealed Jack the Ripper's identity" by Robert Chalmers:

Robinson's research into the Ripper's atrocities gathered pace once he examined the murder of Catherine Eddowes, the second of two murders (known as the "double event") on the night of 30 September 1888. "He killed and mutilated her, then wrote this message on the wall: 'The Juwes are / The men that / Will not / Be blamed for nothing.' Sir Charles Warren, commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, is informed of this message by telegraph. He leaps out of bed at 4am and gets into a hansom cab, not in order to preserve the writing on the wall but to wipe it out. And erase it he did, even though fellow officers were urging him to have this evidence photographed. Right there you have the fulcrum on which the so-called mystery of Jack the Ripper lies."
The word "Juwes", Robinson argues, is a reference to Jubela, Jubelo and Jubelum, assassins central to Masonic legend. (Their full history and mythical significance is explained at some length in They All Love Jack.)
"Once I started researching Commissioner Warren, what emerged was that he was a very senior Freemason. He knew the message about 'Juwes' had to have been written by a Mason. Warren got his stupid arse out of bed that night to fulfil the spirit of the oath sworn by a senior Freemason, ie, 'I will protect any other Mason [from the consequences of their actions], murder and treason not excluded.'"
Robinson re-examined the forensic detail of other known Ripper murders. "Freemasonry  has denied any connection with the Ripper for 130 years," he says. "But these women were all murdered according to Masonic ritual. Throats cut across, abdomens ripped open, guts slung over their shoulders, every piece of metal taken off them and placed nearby. The whole affair is glaringly Masonic. That much I realised within a week."
Of course, the notion that Jack the Ripper was a Freemason is hardly innovative. Dozens of Ripperologists have examined the murders in this context
Robinson's no slouch - he's the author of the award winning screenplay for the 1984 film The Killing Fields. But he uses the same, tired old "evidence" that they all use: namely, the "Juwes" nonsense. This theory was first promulgated in Stephen Knight's 1976 book, Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution. The tale came to him from an informant named Joseph Sickert, son of a painter named Walter Sickert who supposedly knew all the juicy details firsthand and told them to his son before he died (Sickert had an axe to grind, since his father had been a suspect himself). Never mind that no one besides anti-Masonic conspiracy mongers, including any Mason, has ever referred to the three ruffians in Masonic ritual as "the Juwes". And the names of the ruffians were removed from English ritual in the early 1800s. It is very true that Sir Charles Warren, Commissioner of London's Metropolitan Police and a Freemason, approved of having the message scrawled on the wall removed, but this was because there were rumors in the city that a Jew was responsible for the Ripper killings. There had, in fact, already been several near-riots and incidents of violence against Jews over the case, and Warren didn't want the graffiti seen out of fear that more would happen. 

As to the so-called Masonic ritual references to the killings themselves and the manner in which the bodies were arranged, many of the details are just plain wrong, or a total fabrication. If you want to read about it in great detail, see WBro. Dennis Stocks' very detailed essay, Freemasonry and the Ripper.

I have no idea if the UGLE's ritual in 1888 said that a Mason would protect a Brother, "murder and treason not excluded." Perhaps someone else knows. But I do know that my own jurisdiction goes out of its way in the ritual to specifically say "murder and treason excluded," and has for some time. Certainly, Robinson has no way of knowing. Masons are required to obey the laws of their nation, and there is absolutely no evidence of Masons concealing their crimes from the authorities for each other, despite many attempts to accuse them of it down through history. There is literally one instance in modern history of Masons accused of murder and covering it up (see the entry for William Morgan on Wikipedia), and the evidence of that so-called crime is shaky at best-it has never been proved, and no body was ever found. That's literally it.

This Ripper stuff is typical British anti-Masonic claptrap, and dragging it up again makes me suspect the rest of Mr. Robinson's theories. The entire Masonic theory originated with Joseph Sickert who introduced Stephen Knight to the story, and fabricated a whole Ripper hoax that spawned several books, magazine articles and documentaries. In the June 18th, 1978 edition of London's Sunday Times he confessed that he made the whole story up, or in his own words, "it was a hoaxa whopping fib." Masons included.

MSA South Carolina Flooding Disaster Appeal

The Masonic Service Association has established a Disaster Relief Fund for South Carolina, following a weeklong drenching of rain, causing rivers to overflow, dams to burst, roadways to flood , and home and businesses to be inundated with water, resulting in major damage or destruction.
Officials said billions of dollars of destruction has occurred to roadways and bridges, in addition to building damage, in this historic flooding.
In the Columbia area, one Lodge building has been virtually destroyed. It is a Lodge whose membership is heavily composed of active military personnel.  Other Lodges, plus homes of Masonic members, have been seriously damaged, and the toll to life and property is still growing and being assessed.
Please forward to the MSA such donations which you feel are appropriate to help our devastated Brothers, their families and others in this stricken jurisdiction. Read how you can donate online or by check by clicking here.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Gay Marriage and the GL of Tennessee (and Georgia)

I have received disturbing news from Tennessee. It seems that a gay Brother recently married another man, as per the SCOTUS ruling on national gay marriage. Unfortunately, the Grand Lodge of Tennessee's code Sec. 4.2105 (27) specifically states that it is a Masonic offense to "To engage in lewd conduct. To promote or engage in homosexual activity. To cohabit immorally in a situation without the benefit of marriage", and the Grand Master is making moves to expel the Brother.

The Brother in question has issued a detailed response discussing the situation, and has sent copies to several lodges in his area, the Grand Master, and every grand lodge in the US plus the UGLE. He is not going to go quietly, and in light of the recent change in the legal determination of the Supreme Court, I can't say as I blame him. We have perhaps thousands of gay members around the world who have been active, upright Masons for centuries, and it's not the lodge's or Grand Lodge's business what goes on in his bedroom. As long as he's not proselytizing in open lodge, IT'S NONE OF OUR BUSINESS! 

Furthermore, official codes that outlaw homosexuality, like other races, are letting themselves in for a major lawsuit and grand lodges should remove such language as soon as possible.

To read the Brother's letter, see the .pdf at


Last week in Georgia, the Grand Master, Douglas McDonald, issued an edict with the endeavor to change their adultery provision to additionally read, "Homosexual activity with anyone subjects the offender to discipline."

Click image to enlarge:

I'm afraid there will be more of this. Brethren should consider that they have all probably been sitting in lodge with homosexuals since the day they became an EA. I strongly encourage Masons to check their state's code and take steps to remove these provisions. I'm no gay activist, but we live in different times now, and the Supreme Court has spoken on the subject. Like it or not, such rules may subject us to lawsuits, and I humbly beseech Grand Masters not to act rashly because homosexuality conflicts with their own personal views of morality. We have had thousands of gay members since our beginnings, almost entirely without incident or without bringing disgrace upon the Craft. What someone does in the privacy of their own bedrooms is none of our business, as long as they don't bring their politics into the lodge room.

Friday, September 04, 2015

Nebraska Masonic Museum Grand Opening

The Grand Lodge of Nebraska is opening its new Masonic library and museum. From the website today, an article by Blake Ursch: 
The Nebraska Masonic Foundation will cut the ribbon this weekend on a new museum documenting the Freemasons’ 158-year history in the state.
The grand opening of the foundation’s Masonic Museum and Research Library will be held from 8 to 11 a.m. Saturday at the Masonic Grand Lodge of Nebraska, 301 N. Cotner Boulevard in Lincoln. The ribbon cutting is scheduled for 10 a.m.
The museum will be open to the public and will house books and historical artifacts donated by Masons over the years, according to a press release.
Highlights include about 2,000 books on philosophy, history and spirituality, as well as artifacts, such as a 3,000-year-old Egyptian setting maul (a type of hammer). Ancient weaponry, such as the halberd, a combined spear and battle ax, will also be on display.
A special exhibit will focus on the history of Prince Hall Masonry, a predominantly African-American branch of Freemasonry. Representatives from Nebraska’s Prince Hall lodges will attend the opening.
In another exhibit, patrons can learn about the Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition, a world’s fair held in Omaha in 1898.
The $500,000 Grand Lodge building had a cornerstone-laying ceremony in June 2013. The museum, previously in a smaller location on 10th Street in Lincoln, has been moved into the new building.
The new facility provides a better display space as well as humidity and temperature controls, said Russ Reno, former grand master of the lodge.
Organizers are hoping to increase the museum’s inventory by generating support from Masonic lodges throughout the state.

Contact the writer: 402-444-3131,,

Monday, August 31, 2015

PA Academy of Masonic Knowledge 10/17

The 2016 Fall session of the Academy of Masonic Knowledge will be held on Saturday, October 17, in the Deike Auditorium of the Freemasons Cultural Center on the campus of the Masonic Village in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania. Registration will open at 8:30 AM with the program beginning at 9:30 AM. A lunch (requested contribution of $10) will be served at noon and the program will be completed by 3:00 p.m. All Masons are welcome to attend. Dress is coat and tie.

The program for the day includes: 

Professor Kenneth Loiselle will speak on topics from his research and his recently published book Brotherly Love: Freemasonry and Male Friendship in Enlightenment France in a lecture entitled: From Enlightenment to Revolution: Masonic Friendship in Eighteenth-Century France.
Kenneth Loiselle, PhD, is an Associate Professor of history and international studies at Trinity University in San Antonio, TX. Prof. Loiselle's research focuses on the relationship between the Enlightenment and the political revolutions that unfolded during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the history of friendship and private life, and French colonialism in the Americas. He is presently conducting research on a book co-authored with Pierre-Yves Beaurepaire on Old Regime Freemasonry.

Karen Kidd will speak on Co-Freemasonry in North America: its beginnings in Pennsylvania, history and contemporary practice, and its relationship to Male-craft and Female-craft Freemasonry.
Karen Kidd is the sitting Right Worshipful Master of Shemesh Lodge No. 13 under the Honorable Order of American Co-Masonry and an internationally recognized author on the history of Co-Freemasonry in America. Her published works include On Holy Groud: A History of the Honorable Order of American Co-Masonry and Haunted Chambers: the Lives of Early Women Freemasons. She has also published articles in Heredom, the Transactions of the Scottish Rite Research Society.

Pre-registration is required! To pre-register, please send your name, address, Lodge number and telephone by e-mail to:

Monday, August 17, 2015

A Sad Circumstance

I received the following heartbreaking letter today:

Mr. Hodapp, 
My name is A. B., and I recently started reading your book, "Freemasons for Dummies". Unfortunately, I haven't gotten very far in the book, for a rather sad reason. 
Since several of my family members have been Masons and also Shriners, I was interested in possibly joining my local lodge here in ________. 
Per the information I was given at a public Shriner's event, I attended my first Masonic meeting about a month ago in order to find out more information about the organization. At the meeting, I asked if the fact that I have a physical disability would preclude me from joining the organization, and was told that it was a matter to be discussed in private.  
Approximately ten days passed, and I received a phone call from the Worshipful Master of the Lodge, who wanted to meet with me to discuss my admittance. The Worshipful Master was very kind, and we talked for several hours about many different topics. However, at the end of our meeting, I was informed that I would not be able to join the organization. Although very few specifics were offered, I was told that there were components to the initiation ceremony that I would not be able to do, and that, by order of the Grand Lodge, no exception or allowance could be made. The Worshipful Master said that there was wording actually written into the constitution of the organization which in some way precluded my admittance, but I wasn't given very much information. Apparently, the Worshipful Master had contacted the Grand Lodge in __________; he said he attempted to go before Jurisprudence, and finally met with the master of the lodge, and was told to drop the issue, and that I could not be admitted. 
Disgusted, I sent a lengthy email to the Grand Lodge, stating the situation. No reply has been provided. 
From what I've read in your book, it sounds as though the decision of the Grand Lodge is entirely final and binding within the state where that lodge has jurisdiction. So, it would appear that I am barred from joining any lodge in the state of _________ because of a physical disability.However, according to many other informational sources I have found, exceptions are often made for individuals with various physical disabilities and other conditions. 
My question for you is this: Do I have any other recourse in my situation, given the answer I was given by the local Worshipful Master and his conversation with the Grand Lodge of _________? It seems very strange to me and also short-sighted for an organization that prides itself on being of the utmost moral and ethical character to behave in such a discriminatory manner, especially without even providing me with concrete facts relating to the decision. At no time was I asked questions about the specifics of my disability; I was simply dismissed from consideration and told I could not join.Do you happen to know of anything in the Masonic constitution or charter that would preclude someone with a physical disability from being accepted into the order? I find it very hard to believe that my family, or any one else for that matter, would knowingly be a member of an organization that would be so callous. I should also mention that I meet all of the other stated requirements set forth both in your book and on the ________ website for admission. 
Any information you can give me would be very much appreciated. I have no desire to cause a problem for anyone or become a nuisance, but I do not feel that I've been treated fairly in this situation, and I would hate to think that something similar has happened to other good people.Thank you very much for your time and attention.
In Indiana we have a wonderful lodge called Bartimaeus Lodge U. D. that exists solely for the purpose of initiating, passing and raising men with disabilities that would normally preclude them from participating in the ceremonies of Masonry. Membership is drawn from existing Masons in the state, and the lodge has dispensation to assist any Indiana lodge with this situation. They have brought in men who are blind, confined to wheelchairs, and everything in between.

In fact, one of the most active and well known Indiana Masons is paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair, and he was Master of his lodge a few years ago.

I know that many grand lodges have over the years held to a doctrine of physical perfection (Indiana actually had a law until the 1970s that any man with a truss was ineligible for the degrees of Masonry). But with the passage of time and modern day awareness of people with disabilities, I would think grand lodges would relax this requirement. It seems tragic to turn away an excited man who has a family history with the fraternity because he can't kneel or walk a floor with squared corners. Especially with so many wounded veterans in this country. Can't we come up to date, brethren?


I just got off the phone with the Grand Master of the state in question, and he said they make all sorts of accommodations for physical disabilities. Apparently the gentleman in question was extremely vitriolic with the Master and the grand lodge office, and was not the sort of man that would make a good Mason. Apparently he was nice to me, but not so nice to those involved.

The man was upset. The Master was misinformed and told the man that no accommodation could be made. The man erupted and was scathing in his correspondence to Grand Lodge. It was decided that he was too much of a hothead to pursue this any farther. The Grand Master said his letter to him would have had him up on charges, had he been a Mason.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Masonic Awareness At The Speed of Light New Address

Masonic Awareness at the Speed of Light has a new web address. Click here for an incredible array of Masonic education lectures.  The Worldwide Exemplification of Freemasonry 2011 Lecture Series was a free presentation by the Grand Lodge of Indiana F&AM, beginning January 1, 2011 and running through December 31, 2011, with the forum’s “Intenders” presenting the story of the fraternity since 287 AD to present. It is the world's first exclusive Masonic video library with almost 60 different lectures.

This was a labor of love by Indiana Freemason Al McClelland, and he did a masterful job of assembling the greatest Masonic scholars alive to present their papers. Give it a look. You're bound to find something to interest you.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Speaking in Louisville Next Week

I will be speaking in Louisville, KY on Thursday, August 20th at Buechel Lodge No. 896. This will be their Past Masters night and will meet at the new Kosair Shrine Center, with dinner at 6:30PM and my talk at 7:30. I will be speaking on the Masonic origins and misconceptions of Washington DC. I'm looking forward to being there. The Shrine is located at 4120 Bardstown Road in Louisville.

The next week, I am traveling to Cleveland, Ohio to go to the Cleveland Clinic for three days to see if their doctors can determine why my back hurts all the time, and why I pace the living room for twelve hours a day.  After four years, no one has been able to figure this out, so fingers crossed.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Shrine Outlaws Confederate Battle Flag

The Shrine has outlawed the Confederate battle flag in its parades and events:

Special Order No. 4
Series 2015-2016
To the Potentates, Officers and Members of Shriners International, fraternal greetings: Attention has been drawn to the political debate over the Confederate Battle Flag in the wake of the recent incident in Charleston, SC. As a result, in my opinion, as Imperial Potentate, I believe it is in the best interest of the Order and the Nobility that no temple, unit, club or member of Shriners International shall display in any form the Confederate Battle Flag or any image that reasonably can be construed as a reference to the Confederate Battle Flag.
Under the circumstances, it is my opinion, as the Imperial Potentate of Shriners International, that the following order with respect to the Potentates, Officers and Members of Shriners International should be, and hereby is issued.
Now, therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me by § 206.5(a) (1) and (5) of the bylaws of Shriners International, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:
No Noble (in his capacity as a member of Shriners International) or club, unit, organization of Nobles or affiliated or appendant organizations of Shriners International, shall display any Confederate Battle Flag or any image that reasonably can be construed as a reference to the Confederate Battle Flag in Shrine or Civic Parades, Temple activities or in Shrine or non-Shrine public appearances.
No Noble (in his capacity as a member of Shriners International) or club, unit, organization of Nobles or affiliated or appendant organizations of Shriners International, shall participate in non-Shrine public appearances in which a Confederate Battle Flag or any image that reasonably can be construed as a reference to the Confederate Battle Flag is expected to be displayed by the organizer, promoter or by those in control of the premises or facility of the non-Shrine event.
Dated this 10th day of August, 2015
Jerry G. Gantt, Imperial Potentate
ATTEST: Jack H. Jones, Imperial Recorder

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Duane Vaught Elected Grand Master of Knights Templar

My friend and brother Sir Knight Duane Lee Vaught, PGC, PGM, has been elected as Grand Master of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the United Stated of America. Congratulations on such an historic moment for Duane and for all Sir Knights in Indiana! I'm looking forward to a great three years in Templary.

Mark Koltko-Rivera Speaking in NYC Aug. 23rd

Mark E. Koltko-RiveraIf you are in the New York City area, come out and see my friend and Brother Mark Koltko-Rivera at the Museum of Interesting Things on Sunday, August 23rd at 4:00PM, at the Prince Street Loft. The topic will be "Freemasonry in 19th Century New York: A True Story of Murder and Resurrection." Please note that seating is quite limited and that advance tickets are a must.
Come and explore the history of Freemasonry with the New York 19th Century Society! From mysterious origins to current practice, the speaker Dr. Mark Kotlko-Rivera will discuss the origins and activities of the ancient order of Freemasons, commonly know as the Masons. PLUS FREE admission to the Secret Speakeasy immediately following, where you can see and handle real Masonic antiques and artifacts and enjoy lively discussion over drinks with fellow 19th-century enthusiasts!
The world’s oldest and largest fraternal organization, the Freemasons entered the world of nineeteenth-century New York as a respected group that claimed many civic, religious, and political leaders among its numbers. By the late 1820s, Freemasonry was in tatters, under accusations of having committed ritual murder in an upstate community, and it became the focus of the first single-issue political party in American history, the Anti-Masonic Party. Hounded almost to extinction, Masons regrouped in the 1840s, and began a rise to national prominence resulting in the Age of Fraternalism later in the century, when thousands of Masons marched publicly on the streets of Manhattan at regular intervals, and Masons publicly dedicated the Statue of Liberty and Cleopatra’s Needle. Yet by the end of the century, the seeds had been sown for the rumors that plague Freemasonry to this day: accusations of devil worship and attempts at world domination.

Dr. Mark Koltko-Rivera will go behind the events to explain the forces behind Masonry’s expansion, persecution, and triumph, in 19th century New York. Dr. Koltko-Rivera holds a doctoral degree in psychology from NYU. The author of Freemasonry: An Introduction (Tarcher/Penguin, 2011), he is a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Freemason and a Masonic Knight Templar. He has appeared as an authority about Freemasonry on such television shows as Hunting the Lost Symbol, America’s Book of Secrets, Brad Melzer’s Decoded, and Ancient Aliens.

All proceeds benefit the New York 19th Century Society, a non-profit organization that promotes the study and understanding of life in 19th-century New York City through participatory workshops for the public.

Buy your tickets at

Event takes place at The Museum of Interesting Things
Secret Speakeasy
177 Prince Str 3rd flr NYC (between Thompson & Sullivan streets)

All tickets also include free entry to the Secret Speakeasy at 6pm
Tickets $15 in advance & $20 at the door

Friday, August 07, 2015

2016 Prestonian Lecturer Coming to the US in January

According to my friend and Brother Dr. Brent Morris, Dr. Richard Berman, will be the 2016 Prestonian Lecturer from Britain. He will arrive in Atlanta for the American History Association’s annual meeting on January 5th or 6th and will give a paper to them on Friday, January 8. He would be happy to speak at US lodges while he’s here. This is a unique opportunity for you to arrange a visit to hear an outstanding, world-class speaker on Freemasonry.

If you are interested, you should contact Bro. Ric directly at and see how your dates fit into his schedule. Your costs would include airfare for him to travel to your lodge and return to an international airport, lodging for when he’s with you, and an honorarium would be nice (Ric says he doesn’t need one, but he IS the Prestonian Lecturer). All Prestonian Lecturers sell copies of their lecture to raise funds for their designated charity, and thus he would want to sell (and sign!) books at your venue.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

George Washington Masonic Memorial Named National Landmark

The federal government named Alexandria’s George Washington Masonic National Memorial a national landmark today.
Here’s what the National Park Service and Interior Department had to say about it, from the news release issued today:
Towering over the first president’s hometown of Alexandria, the George Washington Masonic Lodge National Memorial is a prominent feature of the Washington, D.C. area skyline.
Today, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis announced the memorial as one of four newly designated national historic landmarks. The designation recognizes sites that possess exceptional value and quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States.
“Though very different from one another, these places reflect the creatively and ingenuity of the American spirit,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “National historic landmarks are an example of how the mission of the National Park Service extends beyond park boundaries to recognize additional places of national significance in communities throughout the country.”
In naming the Masonic Temple as a national landmark, the government said:
The George Washington Masonic National Memorial stands among the most architecturally significant projects to honor George Washington and one of the boldest private efforts to memorialize him. The Grand Lodges of the states and territories, which usually operate independently, joined forces to build this national memorial. This eclectic building combines neoclassical architecture common to American memorials and civic buildings with a modern skyscraper design.

See story here.

Today G. Washington Became A Master Mason

On this day in 1753, George Washington became a Master Mason, the highest rank in Freemasonry. His promotion occurred at the Masonic lodge in his hometown of Fredericksburg, Virginia. He was 21 at the time, awaiting his first military commission.

Derived from practices and rituals in the medieval guild system, freemasonry gained popularity in the 18th century, especially in Britain. British Masons organized their first North American chapter in 1731 in Pennsylvania. Members are required to express their belief in a supreme being and in the immortality of the soul. Masons are also expected to obey civil laws, hold to high moral standards and contribute to charities.
For Washington, joining the Masons served a rite of passage and a reflection of his dedication to civic responsibility.

After the American Revolution, some Masons floated the notion of organizing a “Grand Lodge of the United States,” with Washington becoming its first grand master. But the idea never gained traction. Soon, independent grand lodges formed themselves within each state.

Because of their mysterious rites and closely held secrets, Masons aroused suspicion in the young republic that Washington led.

After Washington’s death in 1799, the renamed Alexandria-Washington Lodge became the repository of many of his artifacts. The lodge rooms, however, proved inadequate for the display and storage of the former president’s memorabilia. A fire in the lodge in 1871 destroyed many of the items.

In 1922, ground was broken in Alexandria, Virginia, for a masonic memorial to Washington. The 36-acre site was chosen because it followed a tradition to locate masonic temples on hilltops. It was situated on land that Thomas Jefferson once proposed as the ideal site for the nation’s capital.

Work on the nine-story George Washington Masonic National Memorial was completed in 1970. It is open to the public.


Friday, July 17, 2015

Levant Preceptory in Dayton, OH on Saturday

Levant Preceptory, Indiana's period costume Knight Templar team, will confer the Order of the Temple at the Dayton Masonic Center, at 525 W. Riverview Avenue in Dayton, Ohio at 12:30 PM on Saturday, July 18, 2015. We operate as a degree team under the charter of Indianapolis' Raper Commandery No. 1, but we draw members from all over Indiana. We travel to Indiana and surrounding states and confer only the Order of the Temple. Knights purchase their own regalia and take pride in excellence of work. 

If you are in or around Dayton this Saturday, stop in and see us. When we cross swords with real steel broadswords, you'll know it!

Unfortunately, I am headed for a convention in New York and won't be able to attend this time. Good luck to all of my fellow Levant knights!

English Masons Who Are City Councilors Must Declare Membership

From the Fenland Citizen today. I thought this madness was outlawed by the European Union Court on Civil Rights, but apparently England has found a loophole. Apparently it's no longer cops and judges who have to register their Masonic memberships, it's city council members. So it continues

Cambridgeshire county councillors and officers could soon be expected to declare their membership of the Freemasons.

Leader of the council and March ward member Steve Count has submitted the motion.

The Standards Board for England has ruled that membership of the Freemasons must be declared under the councillors’ Code of Conduct.
Mr Count said the council does not currently have a written requirement for Freemason membership to be declared and is not expecting any opposition to the motion.
He said: “Quite a few people have said over the years that they are Freemasons. They are not fazed by that fact being revealed.
“I think that the public would like to know that we operate in a transparent way.”
Mr Count’s motion, which will go before the next full council meeting on Tuesday, July 21, calls for all councillors and senior officers to include their membership on the register of interest.
It also calls for councillors and officers to declare if their spouse is a member of the organisation.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Masonic Speakers

Are you looking to improve your Masonic speeches? The Masonic Service Association has prepared a new Masonic Speaker Kit, pulling together 8 useful publications into a package to provide savings for users. Bring your Masonic remarks to a higher level and add confidence to your speaking opportunities. See details at

H/T George Braatz

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Georgia Trying For Masonic License Plates

Worshipful Brother Brian Germann in Georgia tells me that Masons there are trying to get Masonic license plates for their state. So far, they have only gotten 350 orders. Come on, Georgia brethren! The state only requires 1000 orders to put the plates in production. There aren't 1000 brethren out of nearly 40,000 Georgia Freemasons willing to spend a couple of extra bucks to show their pride in the fraternity? Proceeds go to the Georgia Masonic Charities Foundation, as detailed on the order form available here: With a thousand plates, that's an extra $10,000 to the Foundation every year, pretty painlessly.

Freemason tags are a great way to get our fraternity in front of the eyes of the community every day, and dozens of states are successfully doing this every year.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Travis Simpkins

A gentleman named Travis Simpkins sent me a note today that contained praise for Freemasons For Dummies, along with a sketch he made of me. He said he is going to petition a lodge at the end of the summer (apparently they're 'dark' in July and August).

I have received literally hundreds of messages like this over the years saying they read the Dummies book and can't wait to join, which is always a deeply humbling experience for me every time it happens. But this is the first time someone has made a portrait of me to go with it.

I told him that he had real talent if he could make me look good...

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Liberian Presidential Candidate Declares Country Needs Mason At The Helm

The African nation of Liberia has a Mason running for President who thinks the country needs to elect a Freemason to save it from it's ills. From the Global News Network website:
Liberia’s respected businessman Benoni Urey, owner of several businesses in Liberia has resolved to solicit the total support among members of his fraternity, the Freemason or Masonic craft, a secret society that was established in the country during the 1800s in his bid for the Liberian presidency come 2017.
Speaking as Orator at the celebration of Saint John the Baptist Day during the week in Monrovia, Mr. Urey said that the much anticipated new Liberia where there would be economic opportunities, social amenities for all, vibrant health and education sectors, justice, and infrastructural development, which he claimed the Unity Party led government has failed to deliver, must be brought to reality by a government led by a mason.
Mr. Urey believes the dictates of that government would emanate from the Grand Masonic Temple, popularly known as “Up the Hill,” located on West Benson Street in Monrovia.
Serving as an orator at the celebration of Saint John the Baptist Day on Wednesday in Monrovia, Mr. Urey, who is a strong ally of former President Charles Taylor, indicated that the Free Masons must produce the next president that will build a new Liberian, stressing, “We must build a new Liberia because there is a need to improve the Masonic craft and our country,” he said.
The Feast Day was organized by 14 of the subordinate lodges of the Free Masons. Mr. Urey spoke on the theme, “The Role of the Free Mason in the New Liberia.”
“The new government that is to succeed this government in 2018 must be led by a mason. Brethren, I want to let you know that the new Liberia that we all are striving to build for our people must be led by one of our kind,” Mr. Urey declared to a standing ovation of his fellow masons, who were all splendidly outfitted in the craft attires.
He also noted that in the 2017 elections, members of the society will get involved to ensure that the right people are elected.
Mr. Urey indicated that members of the Freemason society in Liberia have been silent for too long as they watch the country go in the wrong direction, but said it is now time for them to stand up and speak out.
Their inability to speak against the ills in the society makes them equally as guilty as those who carried on vices against the state, Urey indicated.
“We have a health sector that is so bad off that many of our people die on a daily basis while we are breeding a generation of people who lack the requisite education and the system is at its lowest level ever in the history of the country,” said Urey.
“The new Liberia must have a God fearing man and the new leader must be his brothers’ keeper. He must be an upright man,” Urey said, indicating that those attributes clearly put masons at an advantage because their craft teaches them those noble principles.